An interview with Cristal’s managing director Frédéric Rouzaud back in 2006 would launch a boycott that would later develop into what we know as Jay-Z’s champagne brand, Ace of Spades. It was then that Rouzaud told The Economist that he had observed Hip Hop’s fascination with Cristal, noting, “We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.”
After years of promoting Cristal in songs, music videos, and their special events, many rappers partnered with Jay-Z to boycott the brand. Ace of Spades is now a leading contender against Cristal—inside and outside of Hip Hop—but this entire controversy seemed to have been missed on A$AP Rocky.
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“When I first came out, I’m like, ‘Cristal by the cases, maybe that was racist, I would prefer the Aces, ain’t no different when you taste it.’ Like, I ain’t know Hov—I ain’t know Jay owned Ace of Spades!” Rocky said with a chuckle while on Drink Champs. He added that he was under the impression that Jay-Z wasn’t feeling the line. Noreaga wanted to know if Jay called him or saw him in person to set things straight.
“Nah, he saw some lil’ A$AP n*ggas back in the day. He seen like, A$AP Bari and them, he called them to the side and was like, ‘Yo, come here. Let me holla at y’all,’” the rapper continued as he laughed through the story. Rocky was surprised Jay was even aware of the track as it was early in his career.
“He was like, ‘So, your mans. What’s up with that line?’ ‘Cause I might’ve said some crazy sh*t like “sip Cris and f*ck Ace,’ I didn’t know it was owned by [Jay].” He said Jay-Z explained that Cristal was “racist” and “don’t really support us.” It’s clear that Hov is aware of those bars about him and his brands, whether rappers believe it or not. Check out the Drink Champs clip below.